National Whistleblower Center (NWC), as a member organization of the Workplace Sexual Harassment Coalition, has signed a letter to Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to support the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 Reform Act (H.R. 4924) which passed in the House of Representatives with bipartisan support last month. The Act, which seeks to improve workplace protections for Congressional staff, has gained broad public support due to the #MeToo movement.
In a memo dated January 29, 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions instructed Department of Justice (DOJ) heads to not communicate with “senators, representatives, congressional committees, or congressional staff” without first consulting with the DOJ Office of Legislative Affairs (OLA).
Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), a long-time advocate for whistleblower rights, has expressed his concern regarding the legality of the Attorney Sessions’ memo. In his response letter, Grassley writes that the memo “does not appear to comply with existing law.” In particular, it infringes on the rights of DOJ employees to “make protected disclosures directly to Congress.”
In an op-ed for The Hill, former National Whistleblower Center (NWC) executive director and widely regarded oversight expert Kris Kolesnik takes members of Congress to task for blurring the lines between campaigning and governing.
Kolesnik, also a former high-level staffer for Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA), states, “people who come to Congress need to understand that, once you get here, you’re obliged to govern. The campaigning is over.” Given Kolesnik’s record, when he speaks on important oversight issues, all should listen.
The National Whistleblower Center, as a member of the Workplace Sexual Harassment Coalition, has signed a letter to the House of Representatives with a set of recommendations for the bipartisan bill, the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 Reform Act. In the midst of the #MeToo movement, the bill aims to improve the workplace environment for Congressional staff.
All around the nation, hundreds of thousands of federal employees did not report to work today because of the federal government shutdown. Military families will not receive death benefits, active duty soldiers will not be paid, and the aggregate effects of a shutdown are expected to cost the American economy about $1 billion per day.
When Dr. Frederic Whitehurst initially blew the whistle on the systemic forensic fraud in the FBI crime lab, he could never have known it was the start of a lifelong fight for government accountability.
Dissenting judges decry “denial of due process” for FBI whistleblowers.
October 26, 2017. Washington, D.C. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, sitting en banc, ruled against veterans who are employed at the Federal Bureau of Investigation and are fired for blowing the whistle. The case is known as Parkinson v. Department of Justice. In a major setback for veterans and whistleblowers at the FBI, the majority opinion held that FBI employees like John Parkinson, who have rights to challenge a termination from the FBI before the Merit Systems Protection Board cannot raise whistleblowing as an affirmative defense before the MSPB as other employees are permitted to do. Continue Reading Appeals Court Ruling a Setback for Veterans and Whistleblowers at the FBI
June 23, 2017. Washington, D.C. Today President Trump signed the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act into law.
The law aims to protect whistleblowers from retaliation and reprisal and will require training of all VA employees about whistleblower protections. The Veterans Affairs (VA) Whistleblower Office created by President Trump in April becomes permanent under the new law.
May 9, 2017. Washington, D.C. Congressional oversight leaders obtained an internal memo sent, on May 3, from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) instructing employees to inform the agency before communicating independently with Congress.
Yesterday, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) delivered a floor statement before the Senate in support of the Inspector General Empowerment Act of 2015 (S. 579). Grassley is a co-sponsor of this bi-partisan bill that aims to expand the independence of Inspector General (IG) offices and reiterates that in order to conduct oversight the IG should have access to all agency records.
Legislation pending in both chambers of Congress would clarify this by making clear that all records mean all records — and that inspectors general remain an important mechanism of accountability and oversight.
Watch Senator Grassley’s speech above or read the full text here.